Deep Listening II

Ten Songs I'd love to see Geebz break down

Subsequent to my thoughts on Deep Listening, I thought I’d provide ten tracks that I think deserve a deeper listen, all of them breakdown suggestions for Geebz. Obviously, he already has a list of songs to get to, as he has exploded in popularity over the past couple of months, but even if he analyzes one of them at some point, I’d be a super happy camper. That said, even if he doesn’t do any analysis, whether you’re into heavy music or space rock, or you’re just curious about the kinds of music I spend time really jiving to, I think there will be a little something in here for everyone.

1.     Øresund Space Collective – I Teleported to Acapulco - Progressive Psychedelic Space Rock – One of my recent discoveries, OSC has been blowing my mind. A collective of Danish-Swedish rockers led by Dr. Space, this group has put out over 30 recordings in the past 20 years, all of them improvised long jams. Some are studio albums, while others are live, but they are all trippy AF. I’ve picked this song for one reason – it’s the shortest one that I could find, with most tracks coming in between 18 and 25 mins long. That said their albums, being live shows, can essentially be played as one long track.  As alluded to by the name of the genre, this music is pretty good for your Friday night cannabis sesh. Or ‘shrooms. Whatever you prefer ;)

2.     Amon Amarth - Twilight of the Thunder God – Melodic Death Metal – One of the original ‘90’s Swedish melodeath metal bands, Amon Amarth is noted for their lively concerts featuring full-on Viking battles on stage. With driving drums, catchy riffs and a blistering solo, this song will become an earworm. I’d even argue it’s a Top 3 all-time melodeath song.

3.     Enslaved – Ethica Odini – Progressive Melodic Black Metal – One of Norway’s most important heavy metal bands, Enslaved has been at the forefront of Black metal since the church burning days. While Ivar and Grutle, who were 13 and 17 respectively when they started the band, were not affiliated with the Mayhem crew, the Black metal ethos of the early ‘90’s is pretty clear in their music. Not content, however, to stick with straight-up Black metal, the then-teenagers decided to add melodic, proggy elements to their music, creating their own form of extreme metal that is impossible to imitate. Having won a Norwegian Grammy for their 2004 album Isa, they were recently the subject of a 12-part documentary by TV Haugaland in their home country.

4.     Insomnium - Heart Like a Grave – Melodic Death Metal – These Finnish melodeath masters are known for their ability to marry soaring melody with the harsh aesthetic of death metal. Dealing mostly with themes of despair, depression and frustration, Insomnium draws their inspiration from the bleak but beautiful Finnish landscapes, often featuring their home province of Karelia in their music videos.  They carry three guitarists, with some pretty incredible, often dueling, guitar solos.

5.     Monkey3  - Mass - Instrumental Stoner - This band was my introduction to 21st century psychedelia. Heavy and bombastic, this Swiss band Monkey3 takes you for a ride. I’m not really even sure what to say about this music - it has to be heard to be understood.

6.     Steven Wilson - Personal Shopper – Prog ElectroPop - British composer Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree takes on our culture of consumerism. This song features a spoken word part from Elton John.

7.     Villagers of Ioannina City – Age of Aquarius – This heavy rock band features folk influences from their home, the Greek state of Epirus. This song has a clarinet solo, and it just works.

8.     Powerwolf – Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend - Power Metal - This German act is heavy on theatrics, taking a bit of a sacrilegious approach to humourous satire. Bombastic and melodic, they make some pretty catchy songs. I’d love to hear about what makes these songs so catchy.

9.     Witch Mountain – The Shape Truth Takes / Sour the Hymn - Doom Metal – This song, like much of Witch Mountain’s repertoire, is slow and heavy, with a deep bottom end on the bass guitar. This particular song builds to a crescendo, with the (now former) leader singer Eva Plotkin showcasing her vocal range and the guitarist showcasing his soloing skills.

10.  Epica – Abyss of Time – Symphonic Metal – For my favourite metal band Epica, I’ve included the first single from their newest album, Omega, released at the end of February 2021. The song features a really sick breakdown that pulls in a really interesting death metal direction. Because this band, which fuses the best of symphonic, gothic, power and death metal together, has some very diverse material, much of it reliant on orchestral arrangements, I’ve included 5 of the songs I think represent Epica. I’ve specifically included arrangements that feature a live orchestra and choir, one from their album Classical Conspiracy, whose first disc is a collection of classical and TV theme music, reimagined, and a few from their 10-year anniversary show, Retrospect.

Five Extra Epica Songs:

1.     Consign to Oblivion - Retrospect

2.     Chasing the Dragon – Retrospect

3.     Dies Irae / Ombra Mai Fu pairing – Classical Conspiracy

4.     Phantom Agony - Retrospect

5.     In All Conscience – The Quantum Enigma B-Sides